The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'denmark'
Scandinavia And The World is a web comic drawn, in anime fan art fashion, by a Danish illustrator, and exploring Scandinavian culture and stereotypes (and, occasionally, the rest of the world). In it, Denmark is never without a beer bottle (the Danes, you see, don't have the punitively high alcohol taxes and state liquour monopolies that are the norm in the Nordic world), Norway is always carrying a fish, Sweden may or may not be gay and Iceland is a bit nuts; with cameo appearances by America (a loud, not-too-bright bigot and his sister, Paris Hilton) and England (who wears a monocle and speaks like a P.G. Wodehouse character and/or Hollywood villain). There are comic strips on topics ranging from mutual stereotypes of the other Scandinavian countries and the differences in the sound of their languages to the gloomy nature of Nordic cinema and the varieties of putrefied fish consumed in the Nordic countries. Well, when it isn't veering off into fits of anime-otaku sexual innuendo.
(via David Gerard)
Let it not be said that the far right are not a diverse bunch. While in Australia, Christian authoritarians flirt with Islamic-style prohibitions on female nudity, in Denmark, the anti-immigrant People's Party wants to show all immigrants videos of topless beaches, to weed out those unsuitable for Denmark's liberal culture:
A documentary film on Denmark that is shown to immigrants as part of the test for entry should include topless bathers, said Peter Skaarup, the party's foreign affairs spokesman. "If you're coming from a strict, religious society that might make you stop and think: 'Oh no,'" he told the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. "Topless bathing probably isn't a common sight on Pakistani beaches. I honestly believe "Meanwhile, an anti-immigrant party in Switzerland has launched an online campaign featuring an image of naked, distinctly Aryan-looking young women standing in Lake Zürich, contrasted with an image of women in Islamic headscarves in filthy water. Stay classy, SVP.
Why the right in Australia and the right in Europe take different sides in a hypothetical Islamism-vs.-liberalism argument is an interesting question.
Out with the old, in with the new: Britain's Con-Dem government invites fast food companies like McDonalds and PepsiCo to help write health policy. Presumably New Labour's approach was too anti-business or something (damn those radical Blairite crypto-socialists). Meanwhile, despite being one of Europe's thinnest nations, Denmark is imposing a tax on junk food, out of the fear its citizens may become as obese as the British:
I met one Danish couple who are raising three young children on a modest income in what is already the most highly-taxed nation in Europe. But they do not resent the government adding further to their grocery bills; far from it.
At his heaviest Lars jokes that he had the belly of "an English hooligan".Britons, it seems, are, in stereotype, the Americans of Europe.
Pitchfork has a piece looking at government support for musicians around the world, in particular the Nordic countries (where governments plough a lot of money into supporting up-and-coming acts as a matter of principle; consequently, Sweden is the third biggest exporter of popular music and Norway, Denmark and Iceland punch well above their weight), Canada and the UK (Canada follows a vaguely Scandinavian line, more out of fear of becoming an American cultural colony than deep social-democratic principles; the UK still has some vestiges of the pre-Thatcherite arcadia—White Town's government grant-funded first single was mentioned—though apparently the golden age has been sacrificed to Blatcherite mercantilism, with art schools being more efficient assembly lines for producing employable human resources than the legendary hothouses of freeform creativity they were when Jarvis was flirting with Greek heiresses), and the US (where musicians struggle to get health care—something Obama's bill won't help much with—though, at least, they can console themselves that they're not in Iran or somewhere).
Naming things, it seems, remains political: Danish academics have acused Ikea of cultural imperialism, for giving Danish placenames to its cheaper products, whilst reserving Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian ones for the more prestigious items:
The researchers claim to have discovered a pattern where more expensive items, such as beds and chairs, have been named after Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian towns whereas doormats, draught excluders and runners are named after Danish places.
Mr Kjöller analysed the Ikea catalogue with a colleague at the University of Southern Denmark. He said it "symbolically portrays Denmark as the doormat of Sweden, a country with a larger economy and population".
America may have had Freedom Fries and Freedom Ticklers, but Iran is doing one better: the national confectioners' union has ordered danish pastries to be renamed "Roses of the Prophet Mohammed", in retaliation for a Danish newspaper's disrespecting of the Prophet. Presumably there would also be a mandatory "(peace be upon him)" after that, making the new appellation sound even more awkward.
For those who haven't been reading newspapers or watching the news: a few months ago, a Danish newspaper published cartoons depicting the Prophed Mohammed as a terrorist. Little happened for a few months, then the Saudi state-run press digs up the issue, perhaps to distract attention from the Hajj deaths, and the Muslim world erupts in flames of protest, most specifically in places where the local powers that be find it expedient to fan the flames. A few extremists do things like storm and burn down Danish embassies, gun down Christian priests, or rally on the streets of London calling for suicide bombings and the beheading of blasphemers, doing little to refute the cartoons' association of Islam with violence and extremism which, presumably, they found so offensive. Meanwhile, many countries in the Islamic world have banned trade with Denmark until the government apologises and punishes those involved (because, of course, the only way something can be published is with government approval). Carlsberg and Danish bacon producers are reported to be "unconcerned".
Anyway, here is an overview of the incident. Be warned: it contains copies of the Satanic Drawings; it also contains anti-Semitic cartoons published in the state-controlled press of various Arab countries, which, inexplicably, have failed to result in Jewish mobs razing Saudi and Omanian embassies.